Eskom’s former CEO, dr. Ian MCRae, passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 90. From 1985 to 1994 he was at the helm of affairs at Eskom and after his retirement ŉ founding member and the first chairman of the national energy regulator, Nersa.
MCRae began his career as an 18-year-old apprentice artisan with the energy supplier in 1947 and obtained a degree in mechanical engineering in 1953 with the help of an Eskom bursary.
His remarkable vision of “electricity for all” and his excellent leadership led to the construction of all the major coal-fired power stations in the country: Kriel, Matla, Duvha, Tutuka, Lethabo, Mathimba, Kendal and Majuba. The hydroelectric power stations Gariep, Vanderkloof and Cahora Bassa in Mozambique, the reversible pump-and-store power stations, Drakensburg and Palmiet, as well as the Koeberg nuclear power station are also thanks to him.
“With his personal charm and integrity, Dr. MCRae is a global player in electricity matters, ”says Eskom in a tribute on the energy supplier’s website.
“The name Ian MCRae will always be synonymous with Eskom. He was one of the country’s leading business leaders and actively worked to bring electricity to all South Africans through new innovative approaches, to use energy supply as an agent for peace and to create a productive organization that its employees respect and develop respect. ”
Dr. MCRae was honored in 1993 with South Africa’s Order of Merit (Gold Class) for his outstanding contribution to South Africa. This is one of many awards he has received over the years.
Wits awarded him an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1989. Prof. David Glasser, the then dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said MCRae’s vision was that Southern Africa could become a growth center of the world and that electricity had the potential to provide a platform for the economic upliftment of not only South Africa. , but also its neighboring states.
“To achieve this, he ignores the current political constraints and the resistance to the idea of economic cooperation with states north of our borders. He uses his engineering background, his management and negotiation talent and the infrastructure he has available at Eskom to create the path to an integrated subcontinental power network, ”Glasser said in his motivation for MCRae’s honorary degree.
Dr. In 1989, MCRae also signed the charter of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (Wano) in Moscow, whereby Eskom became a full member of the organization. He was later also the organization’s president for two years, as well as the chairman of the national committee of the World Energy Conference.
His book, The Test of Leadership , which deals with his 50 years in South Africa’s electricity supply industry, was published in 2006 and shed light on McRay’s strengths and weaknesses, his need to serve others, as well as his career at Eskom.
Eskom’s current CEO, Andre de Ruyter, described MCRae’s contribution to the South African electricity industry in a video tribute as “enormous and transformative”.